7/26/2014 12:00:00 AM
CHICAGO (ELCA) – Students attending some of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's (ELCA) colleges, universities and campus ministries surpassed a matching challenge goal this month of raising $125,000 for the ELCA Malaria Campaign by $6,619.20 and counting.
The Sorenson Matching Challenge was set forth by Arne and Ruth Sorenson of Chevy Chase, Md. In 2011, they gave an initial gift of $25,000 to the ELCA Malaria Campaign, which was distributed as seed money to 12 ELCA colleges, universities and campus ministries to support their fundraising efforts to the campaign. The second part of the Sorensons' gift was a $125,000 matching challenge, designed to match the money raised by college students. The 12 grantee institutions were joined by 23 other organizations to raise money for the ELCA Malaria Campaign. The challenge given to students was to raise the money by the end of the 2013-14 school year, which they completed right on time.
"The ELCA can be proud of the dedicated students who have worked hard to educate their peers and raise so much money to support malaria programs in Africa," said Jessica Nipp, coordinator of the ELCA Malaria Campaign. "Their committed and creative leadership has catalyzed generosity in many communities and on many campuses across the ELCA."
In order to raise the money needed, the campus ministries at the 35 institutions reached out to schools and congregations, held concerts and fundraising events, and showed the effects of malaria to the students at their schools. Although malaria is preventable and treatable, each year more than 200 million people worldwide become infected with the disease and more than 600,000 people die, many of these children under 5.
Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, alone raised more than $43,000 with their Wartburg Malaria Initiative, a year-long, campus-wide initiative held in cooperation with the ELCA Malaria Campaign. Wartburg is one of 26 ELCA colleges and universities.
"I am really proud of the Wartburg Malaria Initiative and our efforts as a community to partner with the ELCA Malaria Campaign," said Kelsey Nulph, who led the initiative. "By March of the academic year we had surpassed our fundraising goal, but we continued to fundraise and involve students, faculty, staff and community members in the efforts of the Wartburg Malaria Initiative."
More than 700 Wartburg students were involved in the work of the initiative through student-staffed tables at every Wartburg home game in a variety of sports and multiple Wartburg events, such as Homecoming, a benefit concert and Family Weekend.
"I am so thankful for the opportunity to participate in the Sorenson Matching Challenge because it provided hundreds of college students the opportunity to serve our brothers and sisters in Africa," said Nulph.
The funds raised by college students and matching grants will be used to provide life-saving health care, train pastors, teach people how to protect themselves from the spread of malaria, and distribute insecticide-treated mosquito nets.
"It has been exciting to participate in the ELCA Malaria Campaign Initiative inspired by the spirit brought to the mission by the many college students who brought awareness of the Malaria challenge to their friends ,families and communities," said Arne and Ruth Sorenson.
"With an abundance of creative activities inviting all to make a difference and the stories of collaboration and determination to reach beyond their goals, college campuses demonstrated that they are indeed the leaders of the future in the movement to raise awareness and funds to eradicate malaria in Africa. We have been honored to be partners in the effort through the Sorenson Grant Challenge," they said.
The ELCA Malaria Campaign, initiated by the 2011 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, seeks to raise $15 million by the end of 2015. Through the campaign, ELCA members have joined with companion Lutheran congregations and partners in 13 African countries to prevent and treat malaria, educate communities about the disease and more. To date, the campaign has raised $12.5 million of the $15 million goal. The campaign is a priority of Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA – a five-year campaign seeking to raise $198 million in support of new and expanded ELCA churchwide ministries.
About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with about 4 million members in nearly 10,000 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.
By Jeremy Lensing, an intern for the ELCA Public Relations Department and a student at Augustana College, Rock Island, Ill., majoring in multi-media mass communication and communication studies.
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